First Time Car Buyer Tips: What You Need To Know
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Buying your first car is quite an experience. Learning how to maintain it is also a necessary learning experience. Especially because it might be a while before you’re able to afford another one.
Getting as much out of your first car is necessary. If your first car breaks down a lot and costs too much, you will not enjoy it. We’re here to offer first-time car buyer tips.
Table of Contents
Hassle-Free Ways To Buy Your First Car
Know What Type Of Car You Want
Cars fall into a few distinct categories. You’ll need to know the pros and cons of these types, alongside their differences. Hatchbacks, SUVs, trucks, and sedans are the most common types.
Then there are some cars like a Mazda CX-3 that is somewhat of a combination of a car on an SUV chassis.
These will have varying degrees of power, control, and comfort. As a first-time driver, it’s worth sticking with one of the smaller types of cars. That could make hatchbacks some of the more recommended.
Think About Insurance
Cars cost quite a bit to own. One of the more significant expenses you’ll have is your insurance. For first-time drivers, this could be more than you’d think. It’s worth knowing as much as possible about potential policies before getting one.
That’s because comprehensive car insurance, nonstandard insurance, and much more exist. You’ll need to know which one is the best option for you. You might even be able to join a family member’s policy, which could be more affordable.
The type of car you buy will significantly impact how much your insurance will cost. We recommend comparing the insurance costs of different types for your specific circumstances.
Determine The Car’s Cost To Own
Insurance isn’t the only car-related cost. You’ll also need to consider taxes, fuel, and much more. Many of these are based on the car itself, although some could depend on how you use it.
Car tax, for example, is often based on the emissions it generates. Its fuel consumption will also greatly affect how much it costs to own your car. You’ll need to know roughly what these are before you buy.
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Though these will vary depending on certain circumstances, you can get a general idea by researching particular vehicles. If you’re considering specific cars, then it’s worth comparing these costs.
It might be worth going with the more affordable option when you buy your first car.
Choose Between New & Used
Buying your first car involves many decisions. One of the first is whether you should buy a new one or a second-hand car. Both have their benefits, although they also have some negatives.
Brand new can be appealing for multiple reasons. It’ll also be the costlier option, even if you pick something from the more affordable end. On the flip side, used cars could come with their problems.
Used ones often need more maintenance, but they are often much less expensive than new ones. Learning how to look after a car could be much easier and less stress-inducing than doing so with a newer one.
It’ll also help you appreciate a new car more once you get one. We recommend buying a car that’s a few years old. Brand-new cars lose a lot of their value as soon as they are driven off the lot (because they are no longer “new.”).
But if a car is too old, it will require considerably more maintenance.
What To Do After You Buy Your First Car
Once you’ve bought your first car, you’ll need to know how to take care of it. Unless you’re a mechanic, that could sound overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. It could be simpler than you’d think.
Taking it to the mechanic anytime an issue arises will naturally be recommended. Outside of that, there are a few things to keep in mind. Though learning things could take a while, they’ll become second nature in time.
Get The Oil Changed Regularly
One of the easiest car maintenance tasks to overlook is changing the oil. It doesn’t need to be done too often, which explains why many people can forget about it. If you do, however, it could lead to issues.
If you go too long between oil changes, then you risk causing your car to break down. Parts of the engine could seize up. That’ll lead to multiple other issues if it isn’t addressed quickly.
These shouldn’t be too costly to have done. The oil itself is quite affordable. Once you know how to do this yourself, you shouldn’t have many problems with it. It’s quite simple, so you shouldn’t need to hire a professional.
It also isn’t too time-consuming, as it only takes a few minutes once you know what you’re doing.
Replace and Rebalance Your Tires
Outside of the engine and safety equipment, your tires are the most important part of your car. You’ll need to look after them. Many new drivers don’t know how to do this. That could lead to accidents.
Replacing them before their useful life is up is one of the more overlooked car maintenance tasks you’ll need to look after.
That could lead to a loss of control when you’re driving.
In the rain, that becomes especially dangerous. How quickly your tires wear depends on multiple factors, like how much you drive every week. Even the make and model of the tires could make an impact.
It’s worth checking the manufacturer’s guidelines for this. If your tires look rather bald, however, you should look into getting them changed.
Learn Basic Car Maintenance
Learning to drive correctly isn’t the only way you can look after your car. You’ll run into quite a few issues if that’s your approach. Knowing how to perform car maintenance will avoid this.
You don’t need to become a full-fledged mechanic to do this. Even the basics can be more than helpful. Checking your oil and filling your gas tank properly will be the most obvious. Changing a tire will also be something you’ll need to learn.
Friends and family should be more than happy to help you with this. If not, there are countless tutorials available online. That could help you look after your car without any issues.
Wrapping Up: First-Time Car Buyer Tips
Buying your first car can be one of the most exciting things you do. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement. As common as that is, you shouldn’t overlook a few things. Your car will be an investment, after all.
Knowing what to keep in mind when you buy your first car will be more than helpful when it comes to choosing one. Then comes the maintenance and multiple other factors associated with owning a vehicle.
These are easy to overlook if you haven’t owned a car before. If you don’t know about them, they could prove shocking. Avoid that by keeping the above in mind and researching as much as possible.
Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.